Evil acts recounted throughout the Bible, as well as in present-day events, continue to have the same effect of separating us from each other and from God. Any act of sexual abuse is evil because it is, in and of itself, a violation of God’s laws as recorded throughout scripture. In addition, it is evil because it sets the stage for the victim to become separated from God and others.
Sexual abuse is a particularly graphic example of the work of evil because of how it affects our soul. It shuts its victims down from having an open heart with God and with others. A child intuitively knows that what has happened to him is not right. It continues to happen and the child begins to wonder if there is a God who loves him. He projects his anger on himself, feeling deep shame and contempt for his body, and even for his godly desire to be loved. As he grows, his anger toward his abuser intensifies and is directed at other authority figures. The evil act of sexual abuse connects with the sin in his own heart and closes down his heart to loving others and loving God. When any evil act occurs to us–whether it be a car accident, abuse or neglect by parents, an unexpected death of someone we love and need in our lives, or any break in relationship–the evil (or sin) in our own heart quickly takes root.
Evil happens because there is sin in the world. People choose to commit sinful acts against others. And when others sin against us, we often, because of our own sinful nature, choose to respond by shutting down our hearts to God and to other people.
The effects of evil can multiply over time. For instance, in an abusive relationship it is often essential to maintain a physical distance. Abused spouses, or children, need to seek a safe physical place. This both protects them and makes a clear statement to the abuser that their behavior is unacceptable. Unfortunately, in distancing ourselves physically from abusive people, we often shut down our hearts, not only to the abuser but also to others who remind us of our abuser. An adult who was physically abused by her father as a child will often maintain a relational, or heart, distance not only from other older men, but also perhaps from all men and/or all authority figures. Our own sin nature reacts to the sinful act committed against us in a sinful manner that in turn hurts others. This is why a key part of the healing process is being able to take responsibility for our own actions.